Study found around a quarter of women started snoring during pregnancy

This doubled the risk for high blood pressure compared to women who didn't snore

Women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at strong risk of developing a serious complication, according to researchers from the University of Michigan.

The study of more than 1,700 women found around a quarter of them started snoring while pregnant. They had double the risk for high blood pressure compared to women who didn't snore.

As association was found between snoring more

than three times a week and high blood pressure in pregnant women

This pregnancy complication can develop into eclampsia if left untreated, which is a life-threatening type of seizure.Lead author, Dr Louise O'Brien, said: 'We found that frequent snoring was playing a role in high blood pressure problems, even after we had accounted for other known risk factors. 'And we already know that high blood pressure in pregnancy, particularly preeclampsia, is associated with smaller babies, higher risks of pre-term birth or babies ending up in the ICU.'

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, showed an association rather than a causal link. However, should it be shown, the researchers estimated around 19 per cent of pregnancy-related high blood pressure cases, and 11 per cent of preeclampsia cases could be helped by treating snoring.

Dr O'Brien said: 'Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading global cause of maternal and infant deaths and cost billions of dollars annually to treat. 'By asking pregnant women about snoring, especially in those with high blood pressure already, obstetric healthcare providers could identify women at high risk for sleep-disordered breathing and intervene during the pregnancy. This could result in better outcomes for mother and baby.' It follows another study earlier this month from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, which found obese women who suffered obstructive sleep apnoea during pregnancy were more likely to have babies who had health problems. They found babies of mothers with the breathing disorder had a greater risk of needing neonatal intensive care than unaffected overweight mothers. The study also found OSA was also associated with higher rates of pre-eclampsia in the overweight women.